July is National Minority Mental Health Month. You hear us talk about the importance of mental health, seeking help when needed, and our mission to stomp out the stigmas surrounding mental health and seeking care. However, part of that involves recognizing that there are numerous communities that feel left out of these conversations, such as those of minority communities. This includes but is certainly not limited to communities of color, the LGBTQ+ communities, Latino communities, and many more.
What does it mean to be considered a minority community?
Many people hear the terms minority groups, communities, or populations but don’t really know what those terms mean in a broader sense. Some people hear the term “minority” and think it is just a group of people that make up the minority of the population. While that definition is not incorrect, being a minority also means these groups from different cultures, backgrounds, or identify a certain way may have an increased likelihood of being exposed to discrimination and oppression. The American Psychological Association defines minority groups as: “A population subgroup with social, religious, ethnic, racial, or other characteristics that differ from those of the majority of the population. The term is sometimes extended to cover any group that is the subject of oppression and discrimination, whether or not it literally comprises a minority of the population. When members of groups historically considered minorities make up more than 50% of an area’s population, that jurisdiction is described as majority-minority (APA, n.d.).”
Minority Mental Health
With that being said, members of these groups may experience more situations of inequality, inaccessibility, oppression, and prejudice in a variety of areas. This could mean not being given equal opportunities as other members of society, not having the same level of access to health care, and being judged or racialized for their culture, race, or identity. These situations of oppression and inequality can take a toll on one’s mental health. In addition, members of these communities may come from cultures where struggling with mental health and seeking help for it is frowned upon. That is why it is so important to have these conversations.
When we understand the different experiences that these groups are faced with daily, we can see how those experiences can lead to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and PTSD. These conditions can be even more challenging when you are shamed for having them or told not to talk about it. For those who do rise above the stigma and seek help, they could still often find themselves turned away in certain medical and mental health settings. At Suburban Research, our goal is to provide equal access and opportunities for mental health care regardless of your race, religion, culture, or identity. We aim to listen and care about your experiences with respect no matter who you are or where you come from because no one should be turned down from getting help just because of who they are.
Resources to Recover outlines a number of statistics over the years that portray everything we are discussing here. For instance, children who are Black or Hispanic are reported 14% less likely to receive treatment for depression when compared to White people (Mental Health America, n.d.).
Over 80% of Black people reported having strong concerns about the stigma that comes with mental illness and reported that this stigma hinders them from seeking treatment (Ward et. al, 2013)
Suicide rates are twice as high among Black adolescents ages 15-24 than White adolescents (Office of Minority Health, 2018-2021).
These statistics are only covering the mere surface of the very real concerns related to minority mental health. We can clearly see the patterns and why this is such an important area of conversation. To see the full list of statistics and studies that go along with them visit Resources to Recover.
If you know someone who belongs to a minority group, take some time to listen and care. Recognize that their mental health concerns are just as important as anyone else’s. Members who are not part of a minority group can still assist in spreading awareness for these groups as allies to aid in stomping out the stigma.
If you belong to a minority group and are seeking help for depression, PTSD, or other mental health concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out. We may have a study that can help. Visit our current studies page or call 610-891-7200 to learn more. Know that you and your mental health matter.
For more resources on minority health, feel free to visit the links below for more in-depth information.
Mental health disparities: Diverse populations. American Psychiatric Association (n.d.) Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/cultural- competency/education/mental-health-facts
Mental Health Resources for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Mental Health America. (n.d.). Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://www.mhanational.org/bipoc-mental-health
Addressing the Youth Mental Health Crisis: The urgent need for more education, services, and supports. Mental Health America. (n.d.). Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://mhanational.org/addressing-youth-mental-health-crisis-urgent-need-more-education-services-and-supports
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). APA Dictionary of Psychology. American Psychological Association. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://dictionary.apa.org/minority-group
Leblanc, A. the A. D. (2022, March 15). Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) mental health fact sheet. Resources To Recover. Retrieved June 24, 2022, from https://www.rtor.org/bipoc-mental-health-equity-fact-sheet/?gclid=CjwKCAjwwdWVBhA4EiwAjcYJEBChJJIv5BfInMIx0yiJKYlUEYx3 ciWXKSbRri4hLdYyfTDPoiCj1hoCpUgQAvD_BwE
Office of Minority Health. Mental and Behavioral Health – African Americans – The Office of Minority Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=24
Ward, E. C., Wiltshire, J. C., Detry, M. A., & Brown, R. L. (2013). African American men and women’s attitude toward mental illness, perceptions of stigma, and preferred coping behaviors. Nursing research. Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4279858/